SAN ANTONIO – 2020 USL Championship Young Player of the Year Finalist Jose Gallegos is among four players announced as set to return to San Antonio FC for the 2021 season, with the former Academy standout being joined by goalkeeper Carlos Mercado, defender Liam Doyle and midfielder Leo Torres in the club’s initial roster moves for the new campaign.
Both Gallegos and Doyle were previously under contract for the 2021 season, while Torres and Mercado had contract options exercised by the club.
Gallegos was a key part of SAFC’s 2020 success, appearing in all 16 matches while recording two goals, three assists and 23 chances created. Torres made his Championship debut last season, playing in two matches while Doyle – who joined the club in September – started in the San Antonio’s lone playoff match. Mercado did not make an appearance for SAFC in 2020, however he was named in 11 match-day squads including the final 10.
In addition, the club continues to be in discussions with numerous players from the 2020 roster about a return to the team in 2021.
Louisville City FC announced on Monday it had re-signed defender Akil Watts for the 2021 Championship season. The contract, pending league and federation approval, keeps the 20-year-old in Louisville after a season that saw him Watts make four starts and 11 appearances overall as the club reached the Eastern Conference Final of the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs.
“We are excited to re-sign Akil, who matured both on and off the field in 2020," said LouCity's head coach and sporting director, John Hackworth. "Akil is a versatile player who has all the tools to take his game to another level. It is our belief that he will continue to develop into a top professional in the years ahead, and we can’t wait to see him blossom in Lynn Family Stadium.”
Watts previously played for Hackworth as part of the United States U-17 Men’s National Team, for which he competed at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India.
Sacramento Republic FC announced on Monday that the club had signed 15-year-old midfielder and Sacramento native Rafael Jauregui to his first professional contract, pending league and federation approval. Jauregui has been a member of Republic FC’s youth development academy since 2017 and competed for the First Team during the 2020 season on a USL Academy contract.
“Rafa embodies everything we look for in a member of our club and academy – his eagerness to learn, desire to improve every day and his love for the game are infectious,” said Republic FC Academy Director and Head Coach Dennis Sanchez. “Our entire Academy is excited to watch him elevate his game to the next level, and continue to grow as a player and a person within our first team environment.”
Jauregui was the 13th USL Academy signing in club history this past season after joining the club’s youth development academy in 2017. This season, he was listed in the 18-man game day roster in 13 of the club’s 16 matches (including playoffs) and made five appearances, including one start which made him the youngest player to start a game in club history.